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Man Church


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#1 Overstreet

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 11:22 AM

Another candidate for "Real or Satire?"

Man Church is church the way a man expects it to be done. No singing, short sermon, time to talk with other guys, no women present, and coffee and donuts. That's the way men want to do church. The topics of discussion will have a definite manly focus - being the best possible husband, father, employee, leader - being a real man. In fact, every aspect of Man Church is geared for men - not like any other church you have seen. This ain't your mama's church!


The same site includes this link, which leads with the intriguing question: "What Is Cornerstone Men?"

God never intended for us to go through life alone. Men need other men to help them go through life the way God intended.


Um... so... without other men, a man must go through life alone? Isn't that part of why God created woman?

Mark "Catholic and Enjoying It!" Shea introduced this link with these comments:

One of the odd outreach efforts from our Funny Little Protestant Friends, because Lord knows Evangelicalism doesn't have enough niche marketing, consumerist theology and splintering sectarianism


Edited by Overstreet, 15 July 2010 - 11:30 AM.


#2 opus

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 11:45 AM

You know, when I first read this description, I kind of chuckled at it. But when I read it again, I found the tone incredibly off-putting. I don't like to think that things like singing and women are liabilities -- I find that approach and stance to be troubling, perhaps even antagonistic -- not to mention trivializing. While I certainly like to spend time with the men in church doing "guy's only" sort of things, is it really true that men want to do church without their wives? I know I don't.

I'm certainly not opposed to there being gender-specific services and whatnot within a church that speak to and discuss each gender's unique needs and callings, but I think that how those services are marketed (for lack of a better term) is so important. And I find the marketing here to be a little "off", to say the least.

#3 BethR

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 01:03 PM

Overstreet quoted:

No singing


Interesting idea, that men don't like to sing. I'm not sure it's absolutely true, but maybe they don't like to sing the "Jesus is my boyfriend"-type of choruses. Have these people never seen How Green Was My Valley?

OTOH, I've been watching the BBCA series The Choir. It's not church, of course, but this week's episode dealt in part with the issue of men & singing, as the choir director (male) had to beat the bushes to recruit tenors & basses for a chorus in a school that had no previous vocal music program. His community chorus also was short on men. His assessment is that without training and/or encouragement, most men lose confidence in their ability to sing (really sing, not rap or rock-n-roll shout) when their voices break.

It's a great show, by the way, if you like music.

#4 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 01:24 PM

BethR wrote:
: Interesting idea, that men don't like to sing.

I keep thinking of German beer halls after a good soccer match, or something. Of COURSE men like to sing, whether it's drinking songs or rousing patriotic choruses or whatever. The question, as you suggest, is not whether men like to sing, per se, but whether the typical modern/western church allows for masculine forms of singing or is skewed a bit too heavily in a more feminine direction.

: Have these people never seen How Green Was My Valley?

I have owned a copy of that film for years, but have still never watched it. (It came in a boxed set that I got for the OTHER film.) I must rectify this some day soon.

#5 opus

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 01:26 PM

I was discussing this with my wife over lunch and had another thought or two. Again, I'll grant that the language employed was probably intended to be cheeky and smart alecky. However, think about what it implies: that church with women present (along with signing, etc.) is somehow less valid or less valuable for men. That "regular" Sunday morning church with all of those things is ultimately a waste of time because it doesn't "speak to" men in the "right" way. But think of what that mindset seems to communicate to women (and maybe even children): church with you is a waste of my time because you are there.

I've had several conversations with other men about church, and there is certainly this notion that church isn't manly enough, for lack of a better description. That we don't like to sing "Jesus is my boyfriend" worship choruses, etc. However, "Man Church" strikes me as the wrong way to fix this issue, especially since a decent portion of Biblical manhood is tied up in our roles as husbands and fathers.

#6 Greg P

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 03:23 PM

Apparently caffeine and artery-clogging fried dough are essential components to this vibrant new spirituality. Does membership come with a NASCAR calendar and subscription to Playboy?

Seriously though, dispensing with 40-minute lectures and campfire songs does seem like a small step in the right direction. I wish more Protestant groups would experiment with this.

#7 M. Leary

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 04:52 PM

: Have these people never seen How Green Was My Valley?

I have owned a copy of that film for years, but have still never watched it. (It came in a boxed set that I got for the OTHER film.) I must rectify this some day soon.


That is a wonderful reference Beth, and a film you must sit down and watch PTC.

"Man Church" strikes me as the wrong way to fix this issue, especially since a decent portion of Biblical manhood is tied up in our roles as husbands and fathers.


Right. Man Church is much different than simply calling it, um, Men's Group.

And I will post this image whenever it is relevant:

Posted Image

Edited by M. Leary, 15 July 2010 - 04:53 PM.


#8 Tyler

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:09 PM

It sounds like Promise Keepers meets Wild At Heart.

Also, I must know where Leary got that picture.

#9 Cunningham

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:19 PM

I can hardly think of a kind of church I would be *less* likely to want to go to.

#10 Greg P

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:34 PM

Re. "lectures," I think you mean harangues, maybe? Because I wonder how many people want dumbed-down, Cliff Notes-style sermons, or 10 minutes of platitudes and slogans, or...

I'm questioning the practical value of the week-in/week-out endurance test that is the pastors sermon. It has nothing to do with 21st century ADD attention spans. And whether it's a beat-down or something supremely positive matters little to me.

In most Protestant circles you're locked in to listening to some prepared oratory for a minimum of 40 mins every Sunday. If you're of the charismatic persuasion, this could go even longer if you include the pre, mid and post-altar call talks. There are very few men with the theatrical and creative chops to command that kind of time allotment every week. As a normative part of christian fellowship and devotion, it just doesn't seem like the most effective use of limited time.

Perhaps it's a symptom of middle age or my backslidden state, but I'm convinced sermons and concerts crowd out the more substantive realities of Christian assembly; namely fellowship, burden-sharing, charity and public prayer and supplication.

#11 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:33 PM

You know, e2c, I'd take a cliffnotes sermon over the parsing of a single verse over the course of several weeks (I kid you not). 15 to 20 minutes can be plenty of time for a certain kind of homily. Not long enough for a good and challenging expository sermon as is expected at many traditional evangelical churches. I don't think that very many pulpit scholars have the analytical chops to do that week in and week out. Yet there are plenty of folks who expect that.

I'm questioning the practical value of the week-in/week-out endurance test that is the pastors sermon. It has nothing to do with 21st century ADD attention spans. And whether it's a beat-down or something supremely positive matters little to me.

In most Protestant circles you're locked in to listening to some prepared oratory for a minimum of 40 mins every Sunday. If you're of the charismatic persuasion, this could go even longer if you include the pre, mid and post-altar call talks. There are very few men with the theatrical and creative chops to command that kind of time allotment every week. As a normative part of christian fellowship and devotion, it just doesn't seem like the most effective use of limited time.

Perhaps it's a symptom of middle age or my backslidden state, but I'm convinced sermons and concerts crowd out the more substantive realities of Christian assembly; namely fellowship, burden-sharing, charity and public prayer and supplication.


Yes, I agree totally. I'm not convinced that we are at church to be entertained at all. 40 minute sermons can be a form of entertainment as well, particularly of the sort you ascribe to charismatic congregations.

As to the subject of the thread, I lean in Jeffrey's Catholic friend's direction. I've had segregation of the sexes at the gulag. I won't tolerate it at all anymore, particularly in spiritual situations. I know that while some will agree with me here, I'll be talking to the wall "out there" by saying that what we need is is a little less self identification, a little less of what I want and more of looking to Him. John the Baptist said it best (I'd love to see THIS on the wall behind a pulpit in a church!), "He must increase, I must decrease."

Edited by Rich Kennedy, 15 July 2010 - 08:36 PM.


#12 Cunningham

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:43 PM

Having sat through my share of inordinately long sermons, I have to say that the preacher ("teaching elder" technically) at my church gives a 45-50 minute sermon every Sunday and I feel like he could keep my attention for another 30 minutes at the end. I love his sermons and always come away with a new understanding of the passage we're studying (it's always expository preaching).

I do think that it's may be partly an issue of balance. Our church format is roughly an hour of open sharing, prayer requests, singing, offering, and communion, an hour of open fellowship and socializing time (of which, being an introvert, I spend about 20 minutes catching up with friends and the other 40 minutes happily holed in the library), and 45 minutes of teaching. So you're looking at a 3 hour Sunday morning, but I think that this format keeps the sermon from feeling like it's going long and it doesn't require sacrificing the more "participatory" or "relational" elements of the Sunday service.

#13 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:18 AM

When a sermon is delivered with insight, has been well prepared (that is, the sermonizer knows where he wants to end up when he starts), is aware of the congregation and their particulars, and esp when its submitted humbly before the Lord as under His authority, I don't care how long it is.

Chances are though, in my experience, that if its fitting under those criteria, it's going to be the right length. But when your speaker starts out with, I haven't had a lot of time to prepare, so bear with me....watch out.

#14 Greg P

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:46 AM

When a sermon is delivered with insight, has been well prepared (that is, the sermonizer knows where he wants to end up when he starts), is aware of the congregation and their particulars, and esp when its submitted humbly before the Lord as under His authority, I don't care how long it is.

I don't question that sermons can be encouraging and edifying at times. I question their supremacy in the Protestant church service, regardless of how well-prepared or fervent they may be.

If the purpose of a weekly, public gathering is largely about the spiritual "fellowship", when does that practically occur? After the song service, the sermon, the announcements and the offering (and maybe an altar call, if the sermon has hit home) most Protestants are left with a whopping 3-5 minutes of hand-shaking, hugs and friendly waves before departure. How is this weekly lecture/concert routine a necessary component to Christian spirituality?

#15 Cunningham

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 11:25 AM


When a sermon is delivered with insight, has been well prepared (that is, the sermonizer knows where he wants to end up when he starts), is aware of the congregation and their particulars, and esp when its submitted humbly before the Lord as under His authority, I don't care how long it is.

I don't question that sermons can be encouraging and edifying at times. I question their supremacy in the Protestant church service, regardless of how well-prepared or fervent they may be.

If the purpose of a weekly, public gathering is largely about the spiritual "fellowship", when does that practically occur? After the song service, the sermon, the announcements and the offering (and maybe an altar call, if the sermon has hit home) most Protestants are left with a whopping 3-5 minutes of hand-shaking, hugs and friendly waves before departure. How is this weekly lecture/concert routine a necessary component to Christian spirituality?

So maybe, as I thought I suggested, the answer is to take more time on Sunday morning so as not to give those other element short shrift.

#16 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 05:42 AM

If the purpose of a weekly, public gathering is largely about the spiritual "fellowship", when does that practically occur? After the song service, the sermon, the announcements and the offering (and maybe an altar call, if the sermon has hit home) most Protestants are left with a whopping 3-5 minutes of hand-shaking, hugs and friendly waves before departure. How is this weekly lecture/concert routine a necessary component to Christian spirituality?

We've been hearing a lot of Bach in the postludes recently. The guy left a huge and daunting pile of work behind. He tossed off preludes and fugues like Mozart in that silly movie about Salieri, week in and week out. We also hear music by other greats of the past, usually of the English choral tradtion. Wonderful music. None of those great names seem anywhere near the production of Bach. I'd say he was unique. In my experience, there are very few preachers who can be subsatantive, concise, and profound on cue every week. Every week, for more than a half hour. I KNOW that my rector couldn't do it. He's mastered the 20 minute format and he's not bad, but then I'm usually gone for part of his sermon with children's chapel. I would cheerfully do children's chapel and something else too if Fr. Glib were expected to produce double his output week after week. And I love this guy. He's a dear friend.

#17 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 05:47 AM

I don't think the low priority on fellowship is unique to Protestant services (high or low). Ever sat in a church full of people who never take their coats off, mainly because they're intending to sneak out once they've received the Eucharist? (I'm not Catholic, but I've been to plenty of masses where this was the case - and people don't stay and talk afterwards, they scatter and go on to the next thing - home, shopping, whatever.)

Even "high" Protestant services (Lutheran, "spiky" Episcopal) end in much the same way - and the sermons are short (for the most part) there.

The arch-diocese of Detroit has closed many, many churches and has not the priests for those who are left. Sunday is a twelve hour day and Saturday afternoon and evening are also busy times routinely here for Catholic priests. Some have implied that services have become a production line here, heh, maybe the only ones left. A huge parish in a shoebox. Not all parishes are like that here (and Detroit is chock full of low church Catholic parishes). Some few are as you describe at my high church Episcopal parish, particularly the no frills 8:00am service. The custodian often has to force us out long after the main service though and after the coffee and snacks have been packed up.

Edited by Rich Kennedy, 17 July 2010 - 05:50 AM.


#18 Nick Alexander

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:48 AM

Kinda interesting that this thread started the week after I finally read "Why Men Hate Going To Church" (Murrow, 2005). To be fair, this book Tries valiantly to be cross-denominational, referring to statistics across the denominational spectrum. The book also focused on two types of solutions: the former working within the confines of an already existing local church (Catholic to Mainline to Evangelical and non-denominational), and the latter being a radical re-invention of church. It is clear from the author's enthusiasm that his heart is on the re-invention model, but it is to his credit that he shows how one could minister to men without reinventing the wheel.

Clearly this church is putting his theories to the test.

What we're seeing here is the radical juxtaposing of American statistical-research and problem-solving, cross-cutting with an ever-evolving, yet-timeless institution. Where one stands on this depends on one's person's opinion on what church is, and if it could be changed.

#19 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 05:41 AM

A buddy of mine from my old church thinks this is all clever marketing of what at other churches would be a trational men's Bible study, or "Men's Ministry".

#20 opus

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 12:15 PM

A buddy of mine from my old church thinks this is all clever marketing of what at other churches would be a trational men's Bible study, or "Men's Ministry".

I would agree. Churches that I've attended in the past have used similar language to describe their men's ministry (though I don't recall them ever using language that could've been interpreted as misogynist). However, it's the implication that this is an "official" church service -- which, in my mind, is something more than a "mere" Bible study -- combined with the troubling language that makes "Man Church" so disturbing to me (as I've mentioned before).

Not to sound self-righteous, but if I were attending this church, I'd have a hard time attending the services simply because of the way in which they've been presented/marketed. Well, that and the fact that "Man Church" meets at six freakin' thirty in the morning. (I am not a morning person, just ask my wife.)

Edited by opus, 19 July 2010 - 12:19 PM.